New AOPA Publication Outlines Rules For Sightseeing Flights
If you conduct sightseeing flights, whether for charity or for profit, new FAA rules affect you. AOPA has updated its "Charity Flying Safety Brief," posted free online, to reflect those changes. For example, flight schools that give sightseeing rides under the Part 91 25-mile exception must now apply for a "Letter of Authorization" from the FAA and show proof that they have an FAA-approved anti-drug and alcohol program. Private pilots who conduct sightseeing flights to raise funds for charity now must have a minimum total flight time of 500 hours, up from 200. However, the rule changes don't affect all forms of charitable flying. Volunteer private pilots still may transport a sick or injured person and take a charitable tax deduction for their expenses, says the Air Care Alliance. The FAA originally wanted to make all sightseeing operations fall under Part 135 charter rules, but AOPA successfully opposed that. AOPA offers more info on the topic at its Web site.